Over the years, game players have faced many horrors. We’ve run away from zombies of Resident Evil, had our blood curdled by the twisted creatures of Silent Hill and even gibbered quietly to ourselves while hiding in the cupboards of Amnesia: The Dark Descent. But only now do we face the greatest horror of all: moving around in Rise of Nightmares.
Sega’s new horror game bravely tries to move motion control beyond the simple fun of Wii Sports to create one of those ‘real games for real gamers’ that internet bores bang on about. The result is a single-player adventure with puzzles and monsters where you can roam freely around a cobweb-covered castle of horror clichés.
To offer this freedom of movement, Sega has taken a literal approach to using the Kinect. You walk by putting a foot forward, change direction by turning your shoulders and grab objects by reaching out. At other times you act out ladder climbing, hacking with machetes and scraping leeches off your arms. In short, it turns you into a mime.
When it works, such as with those leeches, it’s surprisingly effective at making the experience more real. Sadly it often doesn’t work. Moving with precision is a constant nightmare. Even after much practice, positioning yourself so you can fight the monsters is a chore. Let alone kicking them away without turning your shoulders.
Then there are the vomiting zombies that cover the screen in green slime and carrot chunks. It’s as if Sega felt the awkward movement wouldn’t be enough to put players off, so decided to blind them on a regular basis until they go away. Frights are rare too, mainly because we’re too busy fighting the controls to notice.
So while we applaud Sega’s desire to take motion control to the next stage in its evolution, the end result is stillborn. Not without promise, mind.